Telecommunications infrastructure and services have been critical for keeping organizations connected with their employees, partners and customers during the pandemic. Despite surging demand and shifting requirements, there have been few high-profile outages or service interruptions — a testament to the sector’s fundamental resilience.
Telecommunications Challenges from Remote Workers
However, the process of extending communications to mass numbers of remote workers does create significant management challenges. Increased bandwidth, network access and cloud connectivity demands have further complicated an already complex environment.
Organizations are struggling to maintain accurate records of their hardware, software, middleware, licenses, services and billing plans. Carrier rate plan changes, the increased use of mobile devices and frequent employee moves, adds and changes all contribute to frequent inventory changes. IDC analysts report that more than a quarter of all organizations are struggling to manage and maintain an accurate telecom inventory.
Fighting Telecommunications Complexity
Telecom inventory management addresses these challenges by helping organizations create and maintain an accurate record of the services and equipment they rely upon. Typically offered as a subset of telecom expense management (TEM) services, inventory management is an essential safeguard against paying for unused or unnecessary services.
Telecom bills are notoriously complex, particularly for companies with multiple calling plans. Some organizations receive dozens of monthly invoices for voice and data services, each of which may include a confusing mix of recurring charges, non-recurring charges, usage fees, overage fees, regulatory fees and taxes.
Without an accurate inventory of services and equipment, it is difficult to identify billing errors, unauthorized charges, overlapping contracts and other factors that contribute to ever-increasing telecom costs. Gartner researchers have estimated that up to 85 percent of all telecom invoices are in error, with most of those errors in the carrier’s favor. In many cases, these errors exceeded 20 percent of the total invoice amount.
Most organizations lack the time, expertise and information to audit their bills for accuracy. Up to 80 percent of companies simply pay their bills in full without any inspection, according to Gartner. In many cases, they are paying for mobile phones of former employees or for services to locations that have been closed.
Gaining Telecommunications Insight
An accurate, well-maintained inventory gives companies the insight they need to avoid such charges. Effective inventory management starts with collecting all available raw data on communications-related items, whether for fixed, mobile or cloud communications. That includes software, hardware, licenses and connectivity options, along with all carrier contracts, payment records and service-level agreements.
Qualified providers with advanced toolsets can simplify the collection process with auto-discovery tools that scan the network for all connected devices. Once that information is collected and verified, the provider will analyze the data to identify opportunities for consolidation and cost savings. Older equipment that is no longer supported can be prioritized for replacement to minimize the risk of business-crippling downtime.
Keep Track of What You’re Paying For
It’s hard to imagine how any of us could have worked remotely over the past year without robust telecommunication technologies. However, as companies have rolled out new services and solutions to support remote workers, they often lose track of exactly what they are paying for. The telecom pros at IPC can help you create and maintain an accurate inventory of your critical communications environment, and help you develop a strategy for optimizing your environment.